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Larchmont Burchell Children's Library Wins Award

LARCHMONT, N.Y. – With iPads, touch screen computers, a puppet theater, an interactive reading corner and an activity room, it is no surprise the Burchell Children’s Room in the Larchmont Public Library won Westchester Magazine’s “2012 Best of Westchester” award.

The Burchell Children’s Room opened in September 2010 after two years of renovation and was well-received by the Larchmont community.

“It just made it a well-rounded place for community members to come,” Children’s Librarian Christine Hollings said. “The change was remarkable. Everyone who comes in is excited to see the new space. It’s brighter, it’s comfortable and it’s more fun.”

The $3.5 million renovation has made the facility stand out among other libraries in the area. The most significant improvements are those made to stimulate the minds of children. The walls are lined with activities, such as spinning mazes and puzzles, which kids can touch and move. A special reading area, designated “Razzie’s Corner” after a black Labrador retriever, allows kids to cuddle up with stuffed animals as they read.

“You’ll never know what you find around the next corner,” said Hollings.

The children’s library also offers between 15 and 20 programs for children a week, ranging from reading challenges and gaming nights to arts and crafts projects. Any day, Monday through Friday, the library has various programs for children between infancy and fifth grade and their parents. The library even has a section designated for parents and parents-to-be.

Head of Children’s Services Rebecca Teglas is said to know the name of almost everyone who walks into the Burchell Children’s Room and even remembers what books they are reading.

“I think this is an amazing place that has improved tremendously in the five years that I’ve lived here,” said Pamela Sullivan, who brings her son and daughter, Miles and Clare Lane, to the library about once a week. “Rebecca is wonderful and has turned it into a place that children love to be.”

“She [Teglas] is so enthusiastic about the programming," said Hollings. "Her knowledge about the collection is outstanding. It makes everyone feel comfortable and want to return.”

A final standout feature is the display cases that allow children to show off their personal collections. Currently on display are a jewelry, mini-Lego and Pokemon action figure collection. Each display case also has a personalized card with the child’s name and the name of his or her collection. The waiting list to get into one of the display cases is about a year because the library leaves each display up for a month. But Hollings added that allowing children to display their collections and their artwork is worth the wait.

“The kids come in with their parents and grandparents to show them off,” she said.  “And the kids, when they come in here, they are always excited to see what the new display of the month is.”

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